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ACCREDITED PHARMACIST SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
Elise Ryan is a Brisbane based accredited pharmacist
Think safe: managing
personal safety at HMRs
BY ELISE RYAN
Setting off in your car, on foot or via public transport to conduct a home
visit can be a refreshing experience, especially if you enjoy escaping the
pharmacy or office for a little sunshine and adventure.
Home visits are usually enjoyable affairs
where a patient welcomes you into their
home, maybe offers you a cup of tea,
a seat at their table and a willingness
to engage in discussion over their
health. But what happens when the
environment you are entering is not so
welcoming or unforeseen circumstances
arise; have you prepared yourself
enough to safely conduct a home visit in
less than ideal circumstances?
Having a checklist ready while you
contact your prospective patient is a
quick and easy method to gauge the
safety of the environment you will be
visiting. When used as conversation
points during initial contact it prompts
patients to consider their home
environment and behaviours. From this,
mutually agreeable alternatives can be
discussed and arranged.
For example, a patient who smokes inside
his or her home may not consider smoking
a hazard to a visitor, but by drawing this
to her or his attention, you may be able
to agree to conduct the visit in an outside
area and request that the patient refrain
from smoking during your visit.
It is also recommended that you
gather information from the patient's
community pharmacy and GP to make
an informed decision regarding your
health and safety during the home
visit. This may be particularly useful
when patients do not readily volunteer
personal information about themselves
or another member of the household.
Examples include a history of drug use,
mental instability or violence.
PSA's Practice Guidelines for Home
Medicine Review also recommend
that any decisions made in regard
to the interviewing pharmacist's
safety be accurately documented and
communicated in the report.
Alternatively, should a home visit
be deemed unsuitable for safety
(or cultural) reasons, you can apply to
undertake the interview at an alternative
location from the patients home and
still be eligible to claim. Applications
must be submitted to the 6CPA Support
Team at least 10 days before the
desired interview date and will not be
granted retrospectively. Forms can be
downloaded from http://6cpa.com.au/
• Property access: is there a safe parking
area? Are there any hazards to be
• Does anyone smoke in the home?
Can you arrange a smoke-free option
to conduct the interview?
• Are there pets in the home or yard?
Ensure they are secured away from
the front yard and interview area.
• Will there be other people present
at the home? Is there anyone in
the home with a history of mental
instability, drug use or violence?
On the day before/confirmation call:
• Confirm time and address.
• Confirm any changes you have
requested have been remembered
• Remind patient of any on-the-day
specifics to remember.
• Do you have a 'check in' system
arranged with a designated person?
This could be via phone call, text
message or in person. Have you
discussed with that person what
action they should take if you fall out
• Have you given your 'check-in' person
details of where you are going to be
and what time? Include names, phone
numbers and addresses. Ensure that
the 'check-in' person understands this
information is private, only given for
your safety and should be destroyed
when you are home safely.
On the day:
• Do not have any pharmacy identifiers
on your person or vehicle.
• Park in the direction of your exit.
• Make sure your phone is charged and
• Make sure you sit where there is easy
access to an exit.
• Do not sit with you back to a doorway
where someone might enter
"...SHOULD A HOME VISIT
BE DEEMED UNSUITABLE
FOR SAFETY OR CULTURAL
REASONS, YOU CAN APPLY TO
UNDERTAKE THE INTERVIEW
AT AN ALTERNATIVE LOCATION
FROM THE PATIENTS HOME AND
STILL BE ELIGIBLE TO CLAIM."
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